Dave Hartman pressed his hand between Denise Hardway’s shoulder blades.
“You have a knot right there,” said Hartman, a licensed massage therapist.
“All my problems are right there,” Hardway, an intervention specialist at Brookfield High School, said through the hole in the massage chair that her face was resting against.
She explained that she is a mom and a caregiver for other members of her family, giving her little time to do much else.
“I hardly get time to get a haircut,” she said.
In other words, she really needed the massage Hartman gave her.
Even better – it was free.
Hartman, of Brookfield, offered free massages to Brookfield school staff members Sept. 25. He has a private practice called Massage Therapy Body Mechanic, but, on this day, he was representing Joseph Chiropractic of Sharpsville.
Hartman performed fully clothed deep tissue massages and used a genie rub, an electronic stimulation device.
“Oh my God, that feels so good,” said middle school teacher Miriam Necastro. She had a lower back issue that Hartman worked on.
“As soon as we got the email you were coming, I literally ran down to the office to sign up,” Necastro said. “I need a massage so bad.”
Hartman said he sometimes gives 110 massages a day, a physically demanding workload, but one that shows that alternative and natural medicine – including massage – is growing in popularity.
“I believe that we were meant to be massaged,” Hartman said. “God made us that way.”
Hartman, a physical therapy assistant who also offers cupping and instrument-assisted soft tissue manipulation and plans to study acupuncture, encouraged teachers to check whether their health insurance covers massage.
“Teachers usually have good insurance coverage,” he said. “It’s a matter of them recognizing how good it is.”